From the Street Influence Music Throwback Thursday Video


What do you hear rappers rap about today? It’s no wonder a lot of conservative America is quick to stereotype and denigrate hip hop with so little meaningful content hitting mainstream media waves. To be fair, I enjoy a catchy beat as much as the next person. But music needs to speak to people too. Whether or not I’m the intended audience, I feel like a lot of today’s music isn’t conveying as strong a message as music did in the past.

If you need an example of powerfully moving music, look no further than one of greatest MC’s of all time, Nas. His debut album Illmatic is lauded as one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time as it portrays his gritty childhood in the Queens projects in New York. Though he also succumbed to the allure of big money commercialization in his later albums, he brought it back to his roots with his fifth album, aptly named Stillmatic. His track “One Mic” has alway stood out to me in particular. It’s an incredibly moving song, with verses that start slowly and softly, but crescendo in speed, volume, and intensity as he paints a vivid picture of life on the streets. Removing the gangsta rap persona Columbia Records had created for him, Nas made this song all the more impactful by keeping it simple. “One Mic” is Nas’s interpretation of reality in the ghetto as well as a testament to the power of a man and his microphone – the power to educate, to embolden, and to inspire.

Nas – One Mic

Influence Music Throwback Thursday


No…tor…ious! This song is off of Biggie’s posthumous studio album titled Duets: the Final Chapter, and it features Biggie’s verse from “Notorious Thugs”, which is cool because he adopts a much faster pace than his usual smooth flow. This song also features dope rhymes from Twista and Krayzie Bone at his greatest with Bone Thugs-n-Harmony – even though Eightball & MJG’s verses were meh, Biggie, Twista, and Krayzie Bone are enough to make this song worthy of Throwback Thursday.

Check it!

The Notorious B.I.G. – Spit Your Game

Music Throwback Thursday


It’s crazy that 2002 was a decade ago – life sure has changed since then. Unfortunately, some things haven’t progressed as far as we’d like – namely the influence society has on one’s self-esteem. If anything, today’s critics are even harsher on every little perceived physical imperfection. As cheesy as it is, I can personally attest to knowing people who are beautiful not for their physical attributes, but for their unique personalities – each inspiring me to better myself in their own way. Without these role models, I would never have grown comfortable in my own skin, loud and obnoxious though I may be.

Christina’s song holds true just as much today, if not more than the past – her soulful voice highlights the enduring conflict between what one thinks about oneself versus what the rest of the world thinks. It’s much too easy to let the latter bleed into the former, and happens much too often. So hopefully, this artfully performed ballad reminds you that true beauty is visible to us all; we just need to focus beneath the surface more 🙂

Christina Aguilera – Beautiful

Music Throwback Thursday Video


Today’s Throwback Thursday is a little different than usual. Stan isn’t an uplifting song or feel-good jam; it is however, one of the best songs by one of the best artists of the past two decades, Eminem. The version today isn’t with Dido accompany either, it’s the recording of Eminem performing his signature hit with Elton John at the 2001 Grammy’s – a groundbreaking hip hop performance that paired the openly gay Elton John with Eminem, who had been under fire over perceived anti-gay slurs in his music. The song itself is a cutting look at the obsessive nature of some mega-fans, but more importantly, it’s one of the most-censored songs I can recall in recent history, with entire verses almost bleeped out due to “disturbing content”. Em never was one to restrain himself.

Regardless of public opinion, Eminem has distinguished himself as one of the greatest MC’s of all time, and he made it to the top by making music that speaks to his true thoughts, not by selling out.

Check it!

Eminem – Stan (Live) feat. Elton John

Cars From the Street Influence Music Swag Throwback Thursday


Stop for a moment and think back to where or what you were doing in the year 2000. It was after the Y2K scare, we were in the midst of the dot-com bubble bursting, Worldcom and Enron were in the midst of defrauding their stockholders of billions – ’twas a momentous year indeed. But what stood out to 11-year old 6th grader Alex was Nelly’s debut single, “Country Grammar”. It was the epitome of forbidden fruit – as a kid, I wasn’t allowed to watch tv on the weekdays, much less listen to explicit rap. But every kid in school was humming this song, and it eventually became too popular for me not to learn the lyrics and sing along, even if it was on the schoolbus listening to other children sing it. To this day, “Country Grammar” remains one of my favorite Nelly songs – it marked his entrance into the music game as a brash but talented kid who never took himself too seriously. Before “Just a Dream”, before “Air Force Ones”, before even “Dilemma” and “Hot in Herre”, it was just some good ol’ Country Grammar that set off 2000 right, and hopefully bumps in your speakers on this Throwback Thursday.

Nelly – Country Grammar (Hot Ish)